Are you a working professional who hardly has any time to eat? Then these meal prep hacks will save your life and energy. Meal prepping is a great way to plan your meals, and it helps you save money and time, and calories if you want a healthier lifestyle.
Meal prep means cooking certain foods beforehand to be ready for when you’re running late, starving, or tired. There are several ways to meal prep. Many people meal prep by cooking a week’s worth of dishes while others plan a few days.
Best Meal Prep Hacks
As a beginner, you should stick to a meal prep plan that works best for you. Besides, it is always advised to start small. Meal prepping isn’t rocket science, and neither is it intuitive, and it is about creating a schedule and sticking to it. We’ve got you covered if you’re curious about meal prep hacks! Read on!
1. Invest in Containers
One of the essential steps of meal prep hacks is to sort your containers. If you don’t have the right ones, you should probably start investing in them. Silicone or glass containers work best as they’re freezer and microwave-friendly. You can also invest in special containers that make your greens last longer. If you like to go on frequent trips with your family, these containers will come in handy. Investing in good-quality containers is one of the best camping meal prep hacks.
2. Organize your Fridge
Before starting meal prepping, cleaning out your fridge and organizing it is crucial. A messy fridge will make it difficult to meal prep. Therefore, start by decluttering every compartment, toss out anything past the expiration date, and fill your fridge with fresh ingredients. It is also important to keep your fridge and pantry as stocked as possible.
3. Plan a Meal Schedule
Planning a meal schedule is one of the best meal prep hacks. When you’re meal prepping, you should have a plan and Pre-plan when you eat the meals you’re preparing. You can do Taco Tuesdays, Falafel Fridays, Meatless Mondays, etc.
4. Make breakfast the night before
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet most of us skip it. If you’re a working woman running out of time in the morning, try to make your breakfast the night before, and it will only take a few minutes and can save your day. You can prepare chia seed puddings, overnight oats, fresh fruit, granola, etc.
5. Prep your Protein
Protein is an essential part of every meal. Since meats and protein take time to cook, cooking these items ahead of time and storing them in the freezer can be a huge help. On the days you’re meal prepping, cook at least two types of proteins, and it could be chicken, eggs, black beans, or red meat. These can come in handy for salad meal prep hacks or preparing grain bowls, sandwiches, pasta, etc. You can also use leftover proteins in several ways.
6. Go Grocery Shopping
You can’t meal prep if you don’t have the ingredients in your kitchen. Thus, it is absolutely necessary to go grocery shopping. Make sure you prepare a list of everything you need and stick to it. Try to go grocery shopping at least once a week, preferably on the weekends.
7. Prepare foods that you can re-purpose later
A casserole is delicious but not useful when it comes to meal-prepping. While meal-prepping, your goal should be to prepare vegetables, starch, and protein that can be re-purposed later in the week to make other meals. For instance, if you prepare black beans, you can use them to make chipotle, a salad bowl, burritos, tacos, a mixed grain with roasted vegetables, etc.
Similarly, you can cook chicken breasts and use them to make other meals, and the options are endless.
8. When you assemble salads, the dressing should go at the bottom
Hear us out. When meal-prepping salads, the dressing should always go at the bottom. This way, you’ll be able to toss it easily when serving or packing it. This will also keep your vegetables fresh and prevent the salad from sogging. Here is another salad meal prep hack; try to assemble your salads in mason jars so that it’s easier to toss.
9. Follow a formula, one of the basic meal prep hacks
The formula is at the center of meal prep hacks. An easy formula is to prepare two kinds of protein, one starch, and at least four vegetables. This will round things out and make it easy to assemble your dishes ahead. Prepare four vegetables, including roasted vegetables, raw vegetables, and salad greens. You can either cook two kinds of meat or one meat and one bean for protein. For starch, stick to whole grains.
10. Be careful about food safety
It is important to worry about food safety when you meal prep. You don’t want to eat old food and get sick. Many good food handling practices ensure that the food is fresh to eat. For example, cook your food at the right temperature. According to the US Department of Agriculture and the FDA, fish and meat should be cooked between 145 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees depending on the type of ingredient you’re cooking.
Also, keep cooked and raw foods in separate air-tight containers to prevent cross-contamination. Lastly, keep in mind that leftovers are only fresh till 3 to 4 days of cooking. These were some of our best meal prep hacks. For more articles like this, stay tuned to our website!